All the "spellbinding words" and "melodious songs". Women and their imposed silence in "The Odyssey" translations

Master's Thesis, 2018

139 Pages, Grade: 108




1.1 What does it mean “to translate”?
1.2 An attempt to define this term
1.3 Culture: what lies beneath translation
1.4 Is it ideology the cause of women's oppression?
1.5 Authoship is for men, translation ONLY is for women
1.6 On language and masculinity
1.7 Women as authors (or translators): was it even seen as a taboo?
1.8 The first acts of rebellion from all ideologies
1.9 Translation as an attempt of oppression?
1.10 Les belles infideles: women stereotypes in translation

2.1 Skopos Theory or functional translation?
2.2 Translation and equivalence
2.3Decision-making in translation
2.4 Emily Wilson's translation of The Odyssey, is the glass ceiling finally broken?
2.5 A man invading “the woman's place” again: Peter Green's translation
2.6 Odysseus: has the god turned into a normal man?
2.7 Calypso and Circe: the “fair-tressed” nymphs that deceive men
2.8 Nausicaa and Penelope: an example of feminine devotion and fidelity
2.9 The female slaves: an attemptto eradicate sexism





It could be affirmed that translation was one of the first intellectual activities practised on earth. It has been present since the beginning of mankind, and there are even references to it in what is probably the most ancient and most translated book: the Bible. Languages are in fact mentioned in many biblical episodes, implicitly or explicitly, apart from the well-known episode of the Tower of Babel, where it can be understood that translation is not admitted, because God's sacred words do not need men's intervention. It seems like a paradox: translation is obviously condemned, but it is somewhat admitted because it allows men to read and understand these texts, and also to comprehend each other. Translation has always been a difficult and ambivalent term to define, because of the many facets and tendencies this term has assumed in the course of human history: for example, literal translation was and in some cases it is still, one of the most practised modalities of translation nowadays. It was, and is still even more necessary as time passes, because of the fact that language changes, and with it, new translations ofbooks are required.

The first chapter started as an attempt to give an answer to a question deriving from everyday life: why are women translators more likely to translate books written by women, in some cases also certain kinds ofbooks, and not books written by men? Unsurprisingly, the silent act of translation, so different from authorship that gives the writer prestige and personal gratifications, was always connected with one particular part of society: women. Traditionally, they have always been associated with translation; even today it is possible to affirm that there are more women involved in translation than men. But this standard for women comes from the fact that it was the only intellectual work they were allowed to do; all the rest was reserved to men. The first traces of women involved in translation start from the Middle Ages, and this also continues today, because of the dominant ideologies, proposed to the masses by the dominant class, that put women on a different and inferior level in comparison to men. A good description of the perfect image women must have was given by Simone de Beauvoir, who gave one of the most important contributions in the analysis of woman's image in society:

“she is taught that to please she must try to please, she must make herself object; she should therefore renounce her autonomy. She is treated like a live doll and is refused liberty. Thus a vicious circle is formed; for the less she exercises her freedom to understand, to grasp and discover the world about her, the less resources will she find within herself, the less will she dare to affirm herself as subject.”1

The fact is, they are still accepted. In some societies, that in some cases are even described as developed, it almost seems that the endless struggles of feminism did not have any effect with regard to women's condition. It is true, they almost gained the same rights men have, including the right to vote, but sometimes it seems that they did not make any progress and are still in the silence imposed on them by men, aggravated by their claim of the translating process for themselves. And in some cases, the results were a mere confirmation of the oppression that subjects women.

The second chapter deals with one of the first attempts to break the glass ceiling that men contributed to forming, regardless of the fact it was a field believed to be suitable only for women. The translation that almost caused a scandal is the new version of one of the most known and studied books in the history of mankind: The Odyssey. In fact, this epic poem can be taken as an example of the condition of women in the academic and translation field. The first English translation of this text was by the classicist and poet George Chapman in 1615; all the other translations were made by men. It was only last year that a woman, professor Emily Wilson, was able to publish the first translation of this text by a woman, pointing out all the difficulties she had to overcome because of her being a woman involved in the classics field, again, always a men's prerogative. This idea was reinforced the following year, when a new translation of the same poem by the classicist and professor Peter Green came out. This translation was useful in this study: in fact, it was chosen to be compared with the one by Emily Wilson, in order to notice if being a man or a woman brings differences to the translation. The result was that, maybe because of her personal experiences or her belonging to a different gender, her translation differs so much from the other one: while reading the poem it is possible to comprehend all her efforts to give a new interpretation of this text, one that can be read and understood by everyone. To do this, it was useful to know the basis of Skopos Theory, a translation theory introduced in the 1970s by Hans J. Vermeer, with the aim of considering the purpose of a text and the action of translating. In the light of these considerations, the purpose that Emily Wilson had with her translation emerged clearly: to produce what can be defined as an “updated” version of the Greek poem, suitable for everyone to read but, above all, that presents a different view of the main characters. In fact, her characters do not present the same traditional attributes: the first one is the male protagonist, Odysseus, degraded from his godlike attributions given to him by the adjective “resourceful” that, in Wilson's version, becomes a common, “complicated” man, that experiences all the difficulties and struggles of normal men. But her main concern was the rendition of the female characters, in particular Calypso and Circe, Nausicaa and Penelope. They are all different in character, but in the end they appear all similar. Above all, she managed to soften the already present, but also widely shared and approved sexism that permeated the poem. And it is here that the silence becomes evident: for different reasons, all women are all put to silence, because a woman does not have the right to speak for herself, she must not be seen, but also not be heard. Women appear to be dangerous, not because of what they can do, but because of what their words may convey. Emily Wilson managed to give women their lost voice, to all women who were deprived of the chance to realise themselves in every sense, also in regards to translation. With her translation she brought translation back to women, and was able to break the silence imposed by men on them.


“Translation is always a shift, not between two languages but between two cultures.”2

1.1 What does it mean “to translate”?

Babel. This term is one of the appropriate definitions that can be used to describe the complexity of contemporary world, but above all to relate to the variety of languages on Earth. In fact, every population speaks a different language: it's also common to observe the contrasts that are originated by the presence of different idioms, even in the same region or area. But why are there so many languages spoken on the planet?

The response to this question can be found again in this term, that can be traced in the first printed book in the history of mankind: the Bible.

“Tutta la terra aveva una sola lingua e le stesse parole. Emigrando dall'oriente gli uomini capitarono in una pianura nel paese di Sennar e vi si stabilirono. Si dissero l'un l'altro: 'Venite, facciamoci mattoni e cuociamoli al fuoco'. II mattone servi loro da pietra e il bitume da cemento. Poi dissero: 'Venite, costruiamoci una citta e una torre, la cui cima tocchi il cielo e facciamoci un nome, per non disperderci su tutta la terra'. Ma il Signore scese a vedere la citta e la torre che gli uomini stavano costruendo. Il Signore disse: 'Ecco, essi sono un solo popolo e hanno tutti una lingua sola; questo e l'inizio della loro opera e ora quanto avranno in progetto di fare non sara loro impossibile. Scendiamo dunque, e confondiamo la loro lingua, perche non comprendano piu l'uno la lingua dell'altro'. Il Signore li disperse di la su tutta la terra ed essi cessarono di costruire la citta. Per questo la si chiamo Babele, perche la il Signore confuse la lingua di tutta la terra e di la il Signore li disperse su tutta la terra.”3

This is only one of the many biblical episodes that emphasize one of the most common desires since the beginning of human history: the quest to knowledge. But the aim in this case is even more ambitious: it is the desire to know more than God, symbolized by the tower of Babel4. The tower could be described as the monument of human knowledge, and as a way to demonstrate that nothing is impossible to men, that if they want they can reach God. As a result of the attempt to be like God, “(...) man's language condition, the incommunicados that so absurdly divide [them], are a punishment.”5 As George Steiner affirms, the presence of different languages in the world is the just punishment for the desire of men to know more (and maybe better). This was possible only because men could communicate with each other since they spoke the same language. As the Bible says, after this divine punishment men could no longer communicate. It is obvious that they could not pursue the construction of the Tower, but it was also difficult for them to be understood by everyone. From this fact then derives another question: how can men speak (and write) to each other in every part of the world, even if they speak different languages? And related to the biblical text: how can men be able to read the Sacred Book, since they all know a different language?

The answer to this question is simple, and could also be defined as obvious: it is possible to read the Bible, and every other written text, because it had been translated.

1.2 An attempt to define this term

It can be assumed that the term “translation”6 has been known in every society, at least since men achieved the capability to write and had the possibility to study foreign languages. Since then, this concept remained, most of all in relation to written texts (most of all books), and it is also commonly used at present times. It could seem an easy expression to understand and also to explain, but this is not true. In fact, there are many possible approaches and facets that can be considered in order to define what translation means.

The first definition about this term is related to its etymology: “(...) in German [“Ubersetzen”], the Latinism Translation (from the past participle, translatum, of the Latin verb transferre) designates] an activity, a process, a production, a production process”.7 But this clear explanation of the derivation of the term is not enough, it can be affirmed that it is rather sterile.

One of the attempts to establish its meaning was made by Kade: “Ubersetzen (translation): the rendering of a source-language text that has been preserved (in writing) and is hence permanently available or can be repeated at will in a target- language text which can be checked any time and can be repeatedly corrected.”8 Also the writer Umberto Eco, that was himself a translator and was involved in the translation of his books, tried to define what this process means to him. The definitions he gives in his book Mouse or Rat? Translation as Negotiation are taken, almost unchanged, by Webster's Dictionary, and reflect the variety of cases in which this term can be applied. The first one he quotes is more generic: “When I look in Webster's Dictionary, among the definitions of translate I find 'to transfer or turn from one set of symbols into another'”9, then he proceeds in being more specific about the linguistic aspect of the term: “But Webster's, under the entry translation, also says 'a rendering from one language into another'.”10 A clearer definition about the process of translating and its almost exclusive relation to the written text was also formulated in more recent times by Katharina Reiss and Hans J. Vermeer in the field of Skopos Theory. This explanation admits the possibility to adapt the process of translating to various ways of expression, different from the mere written text:

“Accordingly, we shall define translating as a specific type of translational action in which the complete source text and target text and all parts thereof remain accessible to the translator in such a way that the process as well as its result can be corrected at any time (...) This is usually true for situations in which a written source text is translated into a written target text. The translatum11 can be checked, independently or against the source text, and corrected. However, it is not necessary that the source text be fixed in written form; it can also be recorded. In this case, it can be checked by replaying the recording. The translatum need not to be fixed in written form either; it can be checked and corrected by replaying a voice recorder.”12

This last definition brings to light another important aspect connected to the act of translation: the possibility to constantly check (or, most commonly, to rewrite) every typology of translated texts. It could be affirmed that this feature is almost required by certain text typologies, most of all for texts that are literally “consumed” by society, for example novels, or for texts that are considered important because they are at the basis of an ideology or a religion (an example for this is the Holy Bible, that is constantly translated after a specific amount of time). But why is this process so important and almost compulsory in the field of translation? The answer lies in the basis of our culture, the language, and especially the spoken language.

It could be stated that the written language does not change in the course of time: on one hand, this can be true if considered in relation to the grammatical and orthographical parts of a language.13 On the other hand, this statement cannot be regarded as reliable in the field of spoken language. As previously said, every country in the world speaks its own language. This definition could presuppose that the spoken language is not affected by time passing. On the contrary, it can be affirmed that a language changes in all its components over the centuries,14 and these variations of the same word or expression can be first identified in the spoken language. In fact, every single social group gives its own contribution to the modification of certain words and expressions; in the end, with the repetition and constant usage of the altered forms, they become new parts of the spoken language. As time goes by, there is the necessity to adapt the already existing written texts into the newly created linguistic forms. The necessity and the importance of the continuous translation of almost all written texts is relevant: it would be impossible for a large part of the population to read, and consequently to understand the texts that are a common heritage for all mankind. First of all, without translation it would be impossible for the majority of the world population to have access to certain written texts. Secondly, the re-translation of a text is the recognition of the passing of time, the admission that every language can change and that a new version of every text is almost necessary in order to be understood by most people. This aspect is also emphasized by George Steiner: a clear example of his thought can be traced in the first chapter of his book After Babel. Here, after giving examples taken from works by William Shakespeare and Jane Austen, “shows very well how certain texts (...) are not fully comprehensible to a contemporary English reader who does not have an understanding of the vocabulary and the cultural background of their authors.”15 He then proceeds to explain the main reasons that are behind the many modifications that might occur as time passes:

“Any thorough reading of a text out of the past of one's own language and literature is a manifold act of interpretation. In the great majority of cases, this act is hardly performed or even consciously recognized. (...) When reading any piece of English prose after about 1800 and most verse, the general reader assumes that the words on the page, with a few 'difficult' or whimsical exceptions, mean what they would in his own idiom. (...) Language (...) alters at every moment in perceived time. The sum of linguistic events is not only increased but qualified by by each new event. If they occur in temporal sequence, no two statements are perfectly identical.

(...) New words enter as old words lapse. Grammatical conventions are changed under pressure of idiomatic use or by cultural ordinance. The spectrum of permissible expression as against that which is taboo shifts perpetually. At a deeper level, the relative dimensions and intensities of the spoken and the unspoken alter. (...) Different civilizations, different epochs do not necessarily produce the same 'speech mass'; certain cultures speak less than others; some modes of sensibility prize tacitumy and elision, others reward prolixity and semantic ornamentation.”16

It should also be kept in mind that this process is not the exact rendering of the given text (more specifically, the source text)., but, as Jose Ortega y Gasset affirms:

“Translation is not a duplicate of the original text; it is not -it shouldn't try to be- the work itself with a different vocabulary. I would say translation doesn't even belong to the same literary genre as the text that was translated. It would be appropriate to reiterate this and affirm that translation is a literary genre apart, different from the rest, with its own norms and own ends. The simple fact is that the translation is not the work, but a path toward the work. If this is a poetic work, the translation is no more than an apparatus, a technical device that brings us closer to the work without ever trying to repeat or replace it.”17

1.3 Culture: what lies beneath translation

From this point of view, that reflects one of the most common ideas associated with the term “translation”, it might seem that the translator only has to be careful about the linguistic aspect of texts that are involved in the translational process, maybe because of the close link between language and translation. But this is not completely true: while translating, the translator also needs to have in mind that he/she is not simply converting a text from its original language to another one. This aspect is deeply rooted into the language and it is an important part of it: the relevance of the cultural aspect of translation. As Umberto Eco stated: “[A] translation is always a shift, not between two languages but between two cultures -or two encyclopaedias. A translator must take into account rules that are not strictly linguistic but, broadly speaking, cultural.”18 This is particularly true if considered in relation to the problems that could be originated by a simple translation, most of all in relation to terms that indicate elements or concepts in the source text that are difficult to translate because they do not exist or are not common in the target culture. As Mona Baker affirms:

“[One of the most common types of non-equivalence at word level is the case in where] the source-language word may express a concept which is totally unknown in the target culture. The concept in question may be abstract or concrete; it may relate to a religious belief, a social custom or even a type of food. Such concepts are often referred to as 'culture-specific'.”19

A good example could be found in the essay “On Translation” by Roman Jakobson. While introducing the three kinds of translation (interlingual, intralingual and intersemiotic translation) he bases his hypotesis on the difficulties of translation in relation to culture, taking the words of Bertrand Russel and a simple word that almost every reader knows, that is to say the word “cheese”:

“'no one can understand the word 'cheese' unless he has a nonlinguistic acquaintance with cheese'. (...) we are obliged to state that no one can understand the word 'cheese' unless he has an acquaintance with the meaning assigned to this word in the lexical code of English. Any representative of a cheese-less culinary culture will understand the English word 'cheese' if he is aware that in this language it means 'food made of pressed curds' and ifhe has at least a linguistic acquaintance with 'curds'. We never consumed ambrosia or nectar and have only a linguistic acquaintance with the words 'ambrosia', 'nectar', and 'gods' -the name of their mytical users; nonetheless, we understand these words and know in what contexts each of them may be used.”20

From all these considerations, it becomes evident that it is difficult to deal with the cultural aspects that are deeply and also irreparably involved in the concept evoked by the term “translation”. This difficulty could be assimilated with the struggle in defining the concept of “culture”, not always connected with the translational process, that has also been connected with anthropology21:

“Until the birth of anthropology, culture referred exclusively to the humanist ideal of what was considered 'civilized' in a developed society. Since then, a second meaning of culture as the way of life of a people has become influential. With the development of disciplines such as cultural studies, a third meaning has emerged which attempts to identify political orideological reasons for specific cultural behaviour. Hence, depending on the definition adopted, culture may be formally learnt, unconsciously shared, or be a site of conflict. (...) anthropologies themselves now seriously question 'the old idea of'a people' possessing 'a shared culture'. In translation studies, theorists and practitioners are equally divided over the meaning and importance of culture, though most would tacitly accept that there is some form of 'cultural filter' involved in the translation process. Katan proposes a definition of culture as a shared 'model of the world', a hierarchical system of congruent and interrelated beliefs, values and strategies which can guide action and interaction (...), '[e]ach aspect of culture is linked in a [fluid] system to form an unifying context of culture'.”22

There have been several attempts to establish the true significance of this term. The difficulty is also evident when attempting to define the concept of“language”, deeply related and connected with “culture”: “(...) the concept of language is ambiguous. (...) We shall [define] language as the generic term embracing all the means used by members of a particular community to communicate with each other.”23 One good definition could be the one given by Hans Vermeer: “Culture may be understood as the whole of norms and conventions governing social behaviour and its results.”24 David Katan also tried to explicate the concept of “culture”, and the first definition he gave was connected with the origins of mankind:

“Originally, culture was simple. It referred exclusively to the humanist ideal of what was civilized in a developed society (the education system, the arts, architecture). Then a second meaning, the way of life of a people, took place alongside. Emphasis at the time was very much on 'primitive' cultures and tribal practices. With the development of sociology and cultural studies, a third meaning has emerged, related to forces in society or ideology.”25

He then proceeds to define the different approaches to the concepts of “language” and “culture” and draws a possible interconnection between them particularly based on the cultural part, while Edward Sapir states the inferiority of men in relation to language26:

“(...) there is a fairly clear historical division between those who perceive language and culture as two distinct entities, and those who view language as culture. In the first case, translation is seen as a universalist encoding­decoding linguistic activity, transferring meaning from the SL to the TL, using [what was] called the 'conduit metaphor of language transference'. Here, culture and any cultural differences can be carried by the language without significant loss. Others (...) believe that 'the context actually provides more distinction of meaning than the term being analyzed'. Hence, meaning is not 'carried' by the language but is negotiated between readers from within their own contexts of culture. Each readership is hence bound to receive the text according to their own expectations, and translation is necessarily a relativist form of 'manipulation' (Hermans 1985), 'mediation' (Katan 1999/2004), or 'refraction' (Lefevere 1982/2004) between two different linguacultures (Agar 1994).”27

From this quotation the idea that becomes really evident is the fact that it is still possible to recognize and differentiate all the individual cultures present on the planet. But there is another facet of reality that could generate doubts about this aspect of contemporary society. This facet could be referred to as the idea of “assimilation”, intended in this context as the possibility of eliminating all the differences that are still enduring in every society. It could be thought that mankind has succeeded in abolishing every cultural aspect that can be interpreted as an element of differentiation. Everyone could affirm that there are no cultural borders nowadays: it could be said that this was one of the main aims of globalisation, that since the 19th century moved from the economic to the cultural field. As a result of the intensive exchanges and communication between the different areas of the world, all distinctive aspects of every singular cultural area vanished. What is affirmed by Christiane Nord is true: “The borderlines between cultural systems or sub-systems are notoriously difficult to define. A culture cannot simply be equated with a language area. (...) In modern multicultural societies we cannot even say a that a town or a street represents a single homogenous culture.”28 It could be stated, as David Kaplan says, that there is only one cultural model of reference, where all aspects are interrelated in the formation of an unified cultural context. This can be true if only the ideological -and to some extent the linguistical aspects- are considered: in fact, this could not be affirmed in relation to translation. From the beginning it seems like a contradiction: this aspect also appears to be evident when only one facet of the translating process is considered, for example the role of the translator. As Umberto Eco stated: “A translator must take into account rules that are not strictly linguistic but, broadly speaking, cultural.”29 Even with the co-presence of words from different languages, that are almost necessary in order to denote the new objects and concepts that are far from common everyday life, translation is always needed.30 This affirmation is true not only if considered in relation to the linguistic aspect, but also for the -still existing- cultural characteristics:

“Translation is a process that involves looking for similarities between languages and cultures -particularly similar messages and formal techniques- but it does this only because it is constantly confronting dissimilarities. It can never and should never aim to remove these dissimilarities entirely. A translated text should be the site where a different culture emerges, where a reader gets a glimpse of the a cultural other, and resistancy, a translation strategy based on an aesthetic of discontinuity, can best preserve the difference, that otherness, by reminding the reader of the gains and losses in the translation process and the unbridgeable gaps between cultures. (...) For the translator becomes aware of his intimate sympathy with the foreign writer only when he recognizes his own voice in the foreign text. Unfortunately, the irreducible cultural differences mean that this is always a mis-recognition as well, yet fluency ensures that this point gets lost in the translating.”31

This quotation by Laurence Venuti specifically refers to his views about translation and the contemporary tendencies he observed in it. In fact, in the book The Translator's Invisibility: A History of Translation, while he attempts to retrace the history of translation across the ages, he expresses his own theory, based on the fact that the translating process has been affected by society to a point that also the role and the consideration about the role of the translator has changed. Apart from the linguistic effects of globalization that changed words, and from words sentences, it also changed the different approaches to translation. In fact, he observes that the changes that affected language and culture have also had an impact on the role of the translator. He affirms that the new globalized society reflected its new form on translation, and most of all, on translators, to a point where culture, but also the presence of the translator and the fact that a text is translated is not really evident. Using Venuti's words, the translator today has become invisible . From this consideration then derives the assumption that being a translator could not be considered as a proper job.32 Also, being a translator could mean being considered as inferior, because of the belief that everyone who knows different languages can be a translator. On the contrary, as Mona Baker affirms: “it takes so long to acquire the skills [everyone] need[s] as a translator.”33 Venuti connects this modern aspect of translation with the request by readers for “fluency” in written texts, that should also be present in translated texts. For doing this, all distinctive cultural and linguistic aspects -such as dialects, register, style of discourse in the source text- must be removed, and the result will be a “fluid” text with the illusion of a non-translated text, where all cultural elements are absent (or transformed).

1.4 Is ideology the cause ofwomen's oppression?

From this point of view, it might seem clear that society -and related to this translation- has become free from every cultural aspect. It could also be affirmed that it is impossible to notice the presence of different schools of thought in texts, in their original version or in the adaptation to another tongue. But in contemporary society this is not possible, because of different ideologies that have been dominating the history of mankind since the very beginning, and have influenced almost every historical period; this can be observed and still has effects nowadays.

Defining the meaning of “ideology” is not a simple task. As Vanessa Leonardi affirmed: “ Ideology is a complex and controversial concept. Difficulties arise because this term has a series of related yet separate meanings. It can be approached and defined in a number of ways according to the specific context it refers to.”34 The most general definition comes from what could be defined as an unbiased tool: the dictionary, with its capability to describe the words that create reality, gives a voice to all elements (and words) in our world, considering all the possible facets of every concept. Under the heading “ideology” the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary gives two possible definitions:

1- a set of ideas that an economic or politial system is based on;
2- a set of beliefs, especially one held by a particular group, that influences the way people behave: the ideology of sender roles: alternative ideologies. ”35

Hatim and Mason also tried to give a definition to this term: “[For Hatim and Mason], ideology encompasses 'the tacit assumptions, beliefs and value systems which are shared collectively by social groups' (1997: 144).”36 Another effort was made by Susan Bassnett, evidencing the practical effects on speaking: “[Ideology is] a body of ideas that reflects the beliefs and interests of an individual, a group of individuals, a societal institution, etc., and that ultimately finds expression in language.”37

But all the attempts of defining what “ideology” means only by considering the word's significance is only an oversimplification. Ideology, as Vanessa Leonardi noticed, is a more complex concept, that as said previously is rooted in the history of mankind. In her definition of the word, she traces the origin of the term in relation to history, and by association to philosophy:

“The word ideology was coined by the French rationalist philosopher Destutt De Tracy. He intended it to mean the systematic study of knowledge, beliefs, and ideas (Williams, 1976: 126). Destutt De Tracy pleaded for a new 'science of ideas' which was to be open to all and aimed to become 'the foundation for establishing humane social policy and constructing decent laws and government' (Gee, 1990: 4). (...) Despite its original positive-progressive connotation, the term started to acquire a negative connotation. It soon came to refer, not to the study of beliefs, but to the object of study, the beliefs themselves, and it became a pejorative term. (...) [For example] Napoleon used the term 'ideology' to designate fuzzy-minded subversive intellectuals, especially those associated with De Tracy. The major development of this concept came with Marx and Engels, since the pejorative connotations of the term ideology were strongly reinforced under Marxist philosophy, where the term was mainly associated with political ideas. Marxists believed that ideologies were a distorted representation of reality. They both produce and are the product of a 'false consciousness' in that they represent the way in which the ruling class could promote and push the ideas and gain control over the working class (Meszaros, 1989: 381). In other words, ideologies were used to protect both the material and the political interests of the ruling class itself.”38

There is a predominant idea emerging from the final part of this excerpt: the concept of “protection”, that derived from the presence of the main ideologies. Another aspect related to ideology is presented in the second point of the dictionary definition: the idea of dominance, that could be defined as an abuse of power. As Norman Fairclough affirmed, this can be also linked to language and the messages it conveys: “the exercise of power, in modern society, is increasingly achieved through ideology, and more particularly through the ideological workings of language.”39 This assumption gives evidence to the importance of language as a tool for spreading ideas and concepts in different social groups, but also guides to the belief, that power is established by a specific social group that exerts its predominance (it could also be intended as superiority). The dominant group tries to establish its dominion over the other group, perceived as “weaker” than them. This is the main thought of Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937), theorised in The Prison Notebooks, written while he was kept prisoner by the fascist regime and dictatorship. The name Gramsci gave to this concept was “cultural hegemony”: his opinion is heavily based on Marxist thought and on his vision of contemporary society. This was in fact his attempt to explain why a communist revolution had not taken place in Europe, or generally in the Western, industrialised countries. For him, everything is connected to whom he calls the intellectuals. Quintin Hoare and Geoffrey Nowell Smith tried to give a definition of this social class: their result ended with a failure, because of their dependence on social classes, and because of the fact that, for Gramsci, “all men are potentially intellectuals in the sense ofhaving an intellect and using it.”40 Or, more specifically:

“All men are intellectuals, one could therefore say: but not all men have in society the function of intellectuals. When one distinguishes between intellectuals and non-intellectuals, one is referring in reality only to the immediate social function of the professional category of the intellectuals, that is, one has in mind the direction in which their specific professional activity is weighted, whether towards intellectual elaboration or towards muscular-nervous effort. This means that, although one can speak of intellectuals, one cannot speak of non-intellectuals, because non-intellectuals donotexist.(...)Eachman, finally, outsidehis professional activity, carries on some form of intellectual activity, that is, he is a 'philosopher', an artist, a man of taste, he participates in a particular conception of the world, has a conscious line of moral conduct, and therefore contributes to sustain a conception of the world or to modify it, that is, to bring into being new modes ofthought.”41

Intellectuals are divided into two main groups or classes: the first one is defined as the “traditional” professional intellectuals, that elaborate their intellectual thought out of the traditional schemes and profess themselves as independent from the dominant group. The other one are the “organic” intellectuals, who are linked to the dominant class and are fundamentally the thinking and organising element of the dominant class and provide them with the tools for continuing in their cultural and ideological domination. Differently from the “traditional” intellectuals, whose presence could be traced in upper levels of education such as universities, the “organic” intellectuals are distinguished mainly because of their main role of directing the ideas and aspirations of the class to which they belong, so the masses that are ideologically and culturally dominated.42 From this situation a conflict between the two classes is originated, and from there: “takes place within the society (...) the 'perpetual conflict between Church and State', in which the Church is taken as representing the totality of civil society (...), and the State as representing every attempt to crystallise permanently a particular stage of development, a particular situation.”43

As time passes, all the assumptions originated by the “organic” intellectuals become natural and considered as a part of the standard culture and relations by society:

“Institutional practices which people draw upon without thinking often embody assumptions which directly or indirectly legitimize existing power relations. Practices which appear to be universal and commonsensical can often be shown to originate in the dominant class or the dominant bloc, and to have become naturalized. Where types of practice, and in many cases types of discourse, function in this way to sustain unequal power relations, [it could be said that] they are functioning ideologically. ”44

It could be affirmed that language is not only a tool for communicating in every situation of everyday life; it could also be seen as a weapon that can be used to carry different meanings and ideas, more precisely as an instrument of persuasion for the masses to be inclined to support certain concepts and opinions. And for doing this, one effective tool is language, because of the possibility to use different terms and expressions for conveying the ideas of the dominant or hegemonic group. This has been analysed by Pierre Bourdieu, in the attempt to define the mechanisms at the basis of censorship45 that is always employed where there the modification of ideas, mainly in political and ideological fields, is required. Also relating to language, he stated:

“Among the most effective and best concealed censorships are all those which consist in excluding certain agents from communication by excluding them from the groups which speak or the places which allow one to speak with authority. In order to explain what may or may not be said in a group, one has to take into account not only the symbolic relations of power which become established within it and which deprive certain individuals (e. g. women) of the possibility of speaking or which oblige them to conquer that right through force, but also the laws of group formation themselves (e. g. the logic of conscious or unconscious exclusion) which function like a prior censorship.”46

It is evident and it has been historically observed that censorship mainly works in favour of a determined ideology, in the attempt to affirm the power of what can also been defined as hegemony. As stated by Bourdieu and Boltanski:

“The production of ideologies cannot be divorced from social struggles for and against the power of hegemony. (...) hegemony is as much about unity and conformity as about division and intersectionality. Just as different fractions of a particular class share key characteristics and interests, they are divided by idiosyncratic features and concerns: 'to consider the common places produced within neutral places does not mean to ignore the secondary differences that separate the producers and the products', let alone the different fractions of ideological producers and the different clusters of ideological products. Given their powerful position not only within society but also within their own socioeconomic reference group, however, it appears that the dominant fractions within the dominant class determine the dominant discourses within the established order in which they occupy a hegemonic position. Central to the development of stratified societies, in other words, are not only the struggles between classes but also the struggles within classes. (...) There are no stratified societies without ideologically mediated struggles for and against the power of hegemony,”47

From the analysis of ideology in relation of the concept of hegemony in society, they move to consider the relationship of ideology and domination:

“Ideologies can be mobilized either to stabilize, legitimize, and conceal or to undermine, subvert, and expose systems of domination. To the extent that [dominant] ideologies tend to reinforce, justify, or obscure 'the social hierarchy' in place, they contribute to confirming the normative validity of asymmetrical power relations. The 'goes-without-saying' (...) constitutes an essential ingredient of 'the most subtle and the least obvious forms of domination'. (...) 'the social philosophy of the dominant class' reflects the

worldview of those groups who have an interest in defending their leading position on the basis of more or less logically interconnected ideas validating the status quo.”48

As Gramsci affirms, there will be a time where the dominant ideology will be accepted by all society by the consensus of the masses and the support of the “organic” intellectuals, which will form what is called an “americanist” State. It may appear that Gramsci is considering negatively the presence of a shared ideology and the consequent oppression: in reality, he thinks that it is necessary to reach the state where ideology is strongly present in society. He is convinced by the fact that, at this point, the revolution that Karl Marx predicted will also occur in the industrialised part of the world, where, in his politicized view, the working class will have power.

It could be thought that the presence of the different ideologies that originated in the course of history only affects society and the subdivisions that are present in it. This is true when observing the constitution of modem society: everyone can affirm and identify the many little differences in all social groups that are at the basis of the new global population, simply by observing and discovering the different ways of life and ethnicities that compose it. As a consequence, it is possible to notice the presence of what could be defined in a good way as a “balance” between the dominant group, with its asserting and submissive power, and the oppressed group, trapped in the mechanism that authorizes the persistence of this situation in various ways. Norman Fairclough gives a good example ofhow this system works:

“I am not suggesting that power is just a matter of language. (...) Power exists in various modalities, including the concrete and unmistakable modality of physical force. It is a fact, if a sad fact, that power is often enough to exercised through depriving people of their jobs, their homes, and their lives (...). It is perhaps helpful to make a broad distinction between the exercise of power through coercion of various sorts including physical violence, and the exercise of power through the manufacture of consent to or at least acquiescence towards it. Power relations depend on both, though in varying proportions. Ideology is the prime means of manufacturing consent.”49

1.5 Authorship is for men, translation ONLY is for women

Apart from the various contrasts existing among the different social groups that characterized the human history since the very beginning, it could be affirmed that the most important- and the more lasting- social opposition is the one between men and women. This has always been present since the formation of ancient societies (some examples could be the Greek and the Roman society).

This aspect has always been present in almost every feature of life; nevertheless, one of the most evident juxtapositions in contemporary society is the contrast between men and women.

There have been many attempts in the course of human history to subject women and force them to a specific role, without giving them many choices in the workfield: first of all a woman had to be wife, then mother; every other perspective was precluded. This became evident in 1848, where in the Seneca Falls Convention the role of women and their submission, especially in regards of work, were one of the main topics: “The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward women, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her.”50 The idea that women were subjected to a tyranny exerted by men was also shared by John Stuart Mill (1806­1873): after his interest on history and studies made on the topic, he affirmed his idea that he shared with his wife Harriet Taylor. It is stated that: “They shared a commitment to the cause of female emancipation (...). Throughout human history, as he saw it, the role of a husband has always been legally that of a tyrant.”51 He expressed his thoughts in the book The Subjection of Women (1869), where he assimilates the condition of women to those of slaves, and his aim with the book “was to change law and public opinion so that half the human race might be liberated from [this] slavery and regarded as equals.”52 The main argument of his reflection was based on the assumption that:

“the rule of men over women [is] not (...) a rule of force: it is accepted voluntarily; women make no complaint, and are consenting parties to it. In the first place, a great number of women do not accept it. (...). All causes, social and natural, combine to make it unlikely that women should be collectively rebellious to the power of men. They are so far in a position different from all other subject classes, that their masters require something more from them than actual service. Men do not want solely the obedience of women, they want their sentiments. All men, except the most brutish, desire to have, in the woman most nearly connected with them, not a forced slave but a willing one, not a slave merely, but a favorite. They have therefore put everything in practice to enslave their minds. The masters of all other slaves rely, for mantaining obedience, on fear; either fear of themselves, or religious fears. The masters of women wanted more than simple purpose. All women are brought up from the very earliest years in the belief that their ideal of character is the very opposite to that of men; not self-will, and government by self-control, but submission, and yielding to the control of others. All the moralities tell them that it is the duty of women, and all the current sentimentalities that it is in their nature, to live for others; to make complete abnegation of themselves, and to have no life but in their affections. And by their affections are meant the only ones they are allowed to have- those to the men with whom they are connected, or to the children who constitute an additional and indefeasible tie between them and a man. When we put together three things- first, the natural attraction between opposite sexes; secondly, the wife's entire dependence on the husband, every privilege or pleasure she has being either his gift, or depending entirely on his will; and lastly, that the principal object of human pursuit, consideration, and all objects of social ambition, can in general be sought or obtained by her only through him, it would be a miracle if the object ofbeing attractive to men had not become the polar star of feminine education and formation of character. And, this great means of influence over the minds of women having been acquired, an instinct of selfishness made men avail themselves of it to the utmost as a means of holding women in subjection, by representing to them meekness, submissiveness, and resignation of all individual will into the hands of a man, as an essential part of sexual attractiveness. [I can also maintain] that the course of history, and the tendencies of progressive human society, afford not only no presumption in favor of this system of inequality of rights, but a strong one against it; and that, so far as the whole course of human improvement up to this time, the whole stream of modem tendencies, warrants any inference on the subject, it is that this relic of the past is discordant with the future, and must necessarily disappear.”53

Almost twenty years later, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, in the context of the Seneca Falls Convention, gave voice to all oppressed women in the Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions.54 In this document they made strong statements, that were able to highlight the reality of women's condition in the American environment, but that could be witnessed in every part of the Western world. An example is the prohibition for women to dedicate themselves to the study of certain subjects, more specifically the scientific and the ones who gave power and social prestige, as a symbol of the inferiority of women:“He closes against her all the avenues to wealth and distinction, which he considers most honorable to himself. As a teacher of theology, medicine or law, she is not known.”55 It could be said that the assumption of the intellectual inferiority of women is still present nowadays: as a general consideration, it has been observed that “Science is masculine. This is now a commonplace observation, and the masculinity of science is often considered the prime reason that girls tend to avoid the subject at school,”56 which has been connected to the fact that: “Perhaps the simplest way in which science- or to be more precise, physical science- acquires its aura of masculinity, is through the numerical dominance of boys in science classes.”57 As a consequence, “science is perceived [by schoolchildren] as masculine.”58

Science is not the only field of knowledge where the dominance of men is more evident: this could be also spotted in the language field, especially in relation to the working and professional sphere. Muriel R. Schulz is aware of this when stating:

“Our language reflects the fact that we inhabit a male-dominated society. Men have created our political, economic, and educational institutions, fashioned our art, music, literature, and philosophy, and developed our science and mathematics. They have also created the language with which these endeavors are manipulated and described.”59

This is the field where the discrimination of women is more present and tolerated, mainly due to historical reasons and ideologies about women and their behaviour, in the attempt to dominate them, their bodies but also their ideas. In the course of history there have also been studies in the attempt to prove women's inferiority and weakness due to the different physical features between men and women. As Jane Sunderland affirms:

“Historically, a lot of sex difference research was done specifically in order to provide a scientific account of an already-assumed female inferiority-taking comparative measurements of male and female brains, for instance, as a way of explaining why women were weaker intellectually than men. Even when this was not the overt purpose, research results have been used to justify particular aspects of women's subordination: thus even today it is sometimes said that girls don't become engineers because they lack spatial ability, or that their relative lack of aggression makes then less effective leaders.”60

It could be affirmed that today women are not oppressed and dominated anymore. This is in part true: women today are not restricted anymore to the roles of wife and mother; they have in fact a wide range of career choices, that enables them to have another future that is in some cases completely detached from the domestic environment. The hope for a better future for women is always present, and it may seem that women managed to achieve this objective if Muriel R. Schulz's words are considered:

“Until recently, the male-oriented designation of the major professions and occupations presented no problem. Congressmen, businessmen, statesmen, craftsmen, policemen, firemen, and workmen were in fact, as well as in name male. Today we see, finally, the invasion by women of these territories which have long been the domination of men. Eventually the question was bound to arise [in the attempt of naming women doing professions that were exclusively for men and still keep a male denomination of work].”61

1.6 0n language and masculinity

From these considerations it could be thought that the inequality between men and women does not exist anymore: in reality, this is false. Schulz's assumptions regard one part of culture and society that might seem irrelevant: language. But if this aspect is considered, the given impression is that the progress made by society towards women is non-existent. Language appears to be only another tool in favour of men in their exercise of power over women, especially if related to work, which could be said to be the only area where women struggled to gain social recognition and independence.

Muriel R. Schulz's examples refer to the English language, always considered a priori one of the most neutral languages, because of its limited gender marking in morphology that emerges if compared to other languages. One of the most common examples is the Italian language, that has been severely attacked in many language and gender studies since the 1970s, where the first debates about language and its possible sexism started. The critiques are mostly based on its grammar and especially on pronouns, the part that in every language expresses the gender of the object that it is referring to. As previously affirmed, English apparently does not show particular problems if compared to other languages. As quoted by Eleonora Federici and Vanessa Leonardi:

“Anyone who has studied a European language other than English has had to deal with gender as a grammatical category. Languages such as French, German, Spanish, and many others have two or three so-called 'genders', masculine, feminine, and neuter. These can be understood simply as noun classes. All nouns, however, not just those referring to males and females, must be either masculine or feminine. Gender extends beyond those nouns so that articles, adjectives, or other modifiers that go with them must be marked accordingly. This includes pronouns.”62

These considerations on the English language can be considered true only if considered in relation to other languages; otherwise English appears to be a discriminating language in grammatical terms. This was also the main belief of Susan U. Philips when she stated: “the English language itself, in its structure, is inherently sexist and contributes to the perpetuation of male ideology through the denigration and rendering invisible of women.”63 Many scholars share the belief that: “The history of language, at least what we know of it, is an example of male social control and the effects of that control. The documents concerning the grammar of English that we have were written by men for the edification of other men, and, as such, they deal with male concerns from a male point of view.”64 Julia P. Stanley then goes even further in sustaining the almost uselessness of contemporary studies on language: “The contemporary discipline of linguistics, 'the scientific study of language', is only the latest development in the tradition of male control of linguistic descriptions.”65 From these quotations the idea of English as a neutral and sexually impartial language appears to be not so true. In particular, it is interesting to analyse the historical and intellectual motivations that led society to designate and use what can be defined as neuter pronouns and expressions, such as man, men and mankind. Julia P. Stanley made a wide research in order to find the motivations that led grammarians to formulate grammar rules with the imposition that these expressions can be used without a sexual connotation. The reason, she observes, is mainly historical and social:

“The usage of man, mankind, and he in the early grammars of English was not generic in any sense of that term, however one might wish to construe it. Men were educated to rule in England, and these first descriptions of English usage and structure were written with the male sex as their only audience. [One aspect of the social oppression of women has been their exclusion from every access to education, and one important method of implementing that debarment has been to refuse them the right to the English language as speakers. This led to two main consequences for the history of English linguistics:] the first, and, I think, most obvious, has been the continuation of the myth that man, mankind, and he function as 'generics' in English. Not one of these early grammarians mentions are any such to man, men, and mankind (...). However, beginning in the nineteenth century, these nouns of masculine reference began to be touted as 'generics', and it is not until the twentieth century that such male usage becomes firmly fixed as 'correct' in American grammars. There are two ways in which he crept into our grammars as the dominant pronoun of reference: (1) because the traditional rule for pronominal replacement maintains that a pronoun must 'agree with its antecedent noun in gender, number, and person,' and because, according to these grammarians, most of the nouns in English were masculine, unless marked with a special 'feminine marker', and (2) when grammarians began to take notice of the 'indefinite pronouns,' anyone, everyone, everybody, etc., they decided that he was going to be the pronoun of reference. Both of these descriptions derive what plausibly they may have from the erroneous equation of gender with biological sex and the correlative assertion that English has a noun classification system based on 'natural' gender.”66

After her considerations, that also include the aspect of gender, she proceeds into affirming what was the real reason of the historical prevalence of the masculine pronoun in grammar, that unsurprisingly lies in religious reasons. She quotes the main thought of Goold Brown, that is a summary of the opinions of all male grammarians of the time: “The Supreme Being (God,..) is, in all languages, masculine; in as much as the masculine sex is superior and more excellent; ans as He is the Creator of All, the Father of gods and men.”67

In short, not only the languages whose grammar have a clear sexual division are guilty of the implicit discrimination of women; also English was and it is still an instrument of oppression used by men against women. This is also what Carol Weiher's thinks about it. She mentions in particular the example of the pronoun he, traditionally imposed on every thing whose gender belonging is not clear:

“The sexism charge generally runs that the generic use of the third person singular masculine he is, in fact, not generic; that is, we think masculine whenever we say he, his or him, just as it is claimed that we think masculine when we hear the free form man or the formative -man used in the supposedly inclusive sense of the French on. This may or not might be so; many words in English have more than one citation in the dictionary, more than one referent in the real world. The more active women become in social roles traditionally dominated by men, the less chance there will be that a hearer will think masculine when 'he' hears any of these words.”68

These were the predominant ideas in the 1970s, when feminists started to devote their attention to women, also in grammatical terms. And the debate is continuing also today, despite the fact that the areas of interest have changed since then. Today the discrimination is turned against new categories, such as homosexuals and the LGBT community. In the attempt to please and respect their sexual identity several manuals were written by many scholars,69 but it can be easily affirmed that the ideological battle is not over. Several academics are still refusing to recognize and conform to the diversity of sexual identities in contemporary society, and this is even more evident if pronouns are considered. The most recent case happened in 2016 at the University of Toronto, when Professor Jordan Peterson posted some videos on his Youtube channel regarding the culture of the politically correct. In particular he was extremely critical about:

“Bill C-16, a bill that has now passed second reading in the House of Commons, which adds 'gender identity' and 'gender expression' to the list of attributes protected by the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code, and to similar legislations already in place in Ontario and other provinces. (...) the videos attracted a lot of attention (...) [and] produced two demonstrations at the University of Toronto (...), including a free-speech rally (...).”70

But the real motivation behind the scandal was the affirmation that: “ [he] would not use what have come to be known as 'preferred pronouns' to refer to people who believe that their gender does not fit neatly into the traditional categories of male and female.”71 He then proceeds into declaring: “I would never use words I hate, like the trendy and artificially constructed words 'zhe' and 'zher'. These words are at the vanguard of a post-modern, radical leftist ideology that I detest, and which is, in my professional opinion, frighteningly similar to the Marxist doctrines that killed at least 100 million people in the 20th century.”72 Apart from the extremist beliefs of Peterson, it can be affirmed that the debate on language, even in grammatical aspects, is still alive in contemporary society.73


1 Simone de Beauvoir, 'The Second Sex, Jonathan Cape: 1953, p. 285.

2 Umberto Eco, Mouse or Rat? Translation as Negotiation, 2003, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2004, p. 82.

3 La Bibbia. Testo ufficiale della Conferenza Episcopale Italiana, Casale Monferrato: Piemme, 2004,

p. 18.

4 “A biblical narrative explaining why man is destined to speak a multiplicity of different languages. (...) According to Christian theology the disaster of Babel is seen as the act which completes the Fall of man into a state of sin, while the symbolic reversal of its effects at Pentecost - when Christ's apostles were filled with the Holy Ghost and 'began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance' (Acts of the Apostles chapter 2 verse 4) - looks forward to a time in the future where the whole of redeemed mankind will once again speak a single language. The Tower of Babel can be seen metaphysically not only as the event which gave rise to the need for translators and interpreters, but also more specifically as 'the spark which set off a discussion of translation theory and method... from a theological, philosophical, aesthetic, psychological, and ethnographic point of view' (Wilss 1982: 27). (...) the confounding of mankind's speech can be viewed positively or negatively. Bamstone (1993), for example, talks of the world being enriched by 'diverse linguistic cultures, iconic and verbal' (1993: 237); he regards the distraction of the original tower as a challenge to build a second Babel by means of the act of translation ( 1993: 3). Steiner (...) talks of it as ' a teleological imperative, a stubborn searching out of all the apertures, translucencies, sluice-gates through which the divided streams of human speech pursue their destined return to a single sea (1975/1992: 256-67). (...) he looks forward to the redemption of language [as] the recovering of PURE LANGUAGE through the agencies of translation (Mona Baker and Gabriela Saldanha, Routledge Encyclopedia of 'Translation Studies, 1998, London: Routledge, 2009, p. 14.

5 George Steiner,AfterBabel, Oxford, 1975, p. 57.

6 “As a generic term to cover both translating and interpreting, we shall adopt the German term Translation, (...) from the Leipzig School” (Katharina Reiss and Hans J. Vermeer, 'Towards a General Theory of Translational Action: Skopos Theory Explained,1, Routledge: London: Routledge, 2014, p. 7).

7 Katharina Reiss and Hans J. Vermeer, Towards a Theory of 'Translational Action: Skopos Theory Explained, 1984, London: Routledge, 2014, p. 8.

8 Mary Snell-Homby, The Turns of Translation Studies: New Paradigms or Shifting Viewpoints?, Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2006, p. 28.

9 Umberto Eco, Mouse or Rat? 'Translation as Negotiation, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2004, p. 9.

10 Umberto Eco, Mouse or Rat? Translation as Negotiation, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2004, p. 9.

11 “Translat (Translatum in English) [is] the product resulting from the process, as well as compounds” (Katharina Reiss and Hans J. Vermeer, Towards a Theory of 'Translational Action: Skopos TheoryExplained, 1984, London: Routledge, 2014, p. 8).

12 Katharina Reiss and Hans J. Vermeer, Towards a Theory of Translational .Action: Skopos Theory Explained, 1984, London: Routledge, 2014, p. 9.

13 This affirmation is not always true: an example is the German orthographic reform of 1996, that essentially changed the spelling and punctuation with the intention of simplifying the language and making it easier to learn, without substantially changing the rules familiar to users of the language (Chris Upward, “Spelling Reform in Germany”, Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society, 21, 1997/1, pp. 22-24). Apart from orthography, language is subject to lexical changes: an example could be “neologisms, [that] are perhaps the non-literary and the professional translator's biggest problem. New objects and processes are continually created in technology. New ideas and variations on feelings come from the media. Terms from the social sciences, slang, dialect coming into the mainstream of language, transferred words, make up the rest. (...) Neologisms can be defined as newly coined lexical units or existing lexical units that acquire a new sense. (...) [The most common example for neologisms could be] existing words with new senses. These do not normally refer to new objects or processes, and therefore are rarely technological”(Peter Newmark, A Textbook of Translation, Prentice Hall, 1988, pp. 140-141). He then sums up other eleven typologies of neologisms, from new coinages (“a word or phrase that has been invented recently”, Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary, p. 288) to derived words, abbreviations, collocations, eponyms (the definition givenby Peter Newmark at p. 146 is:“any word derived from a proper name”), phrasal and transferred words, acronyms and what could be defined as pseudo­neologisms. George Steiner points the attention on the assumption that every part of language, as time passes, is subject to change: “Different ages and civilizations work differently with words, with verbal taboos, with levels of vocabulary. They probably attach differing truth-values and postulates of reality to their designation of objects”. (George Steiner, After Babel, Oxford, 1975, p. 136).

14 “Language is inperpetual change” (George Steiner,AfterBabel, Oxford, 1975, p. 17.

15 Umberto Eco, Mouse or Rat? Translation as Negotiation,2003, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2004, p. 82.

16 George ‘&\Qvaex,AfterBabel, Oxford, f975, pp. 17-18.

17 Lawrence Venuti, 'The 'Translation Studies Reader, London: Routledge, 2000, p.6L

18 Umberto Eco, Mouse or Rat? Translation as Negotiation,2003, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2004, p. 82.

19 MonaBaker, In Other Words,1992, London: Routledge, 2011, p. 18.

20 Roman Jakobson, “On Linguistic Aspects of Translation” in Lawrence Venuti, 'The 'Translation Studies Reader, London: Routledge, 2000, p. 113.

21 Anthropology has also been connected to translation: “The central aim of anthropological enterprise has always been to understand and comprehend a culture or cultures other than one's own. This inevitably involves either the translation of words, ideas and meanings from one culture to another, or the translation to a set of analytical concepts. Translation is central to 'writing about culture'. (...) Since its inception as a discipline and even in the 'prehistory' of anthropology, translation has played a singularly important role. In its broadest sense, translation means cross- cultural understanding”. (Paula G. Rubel and Abraham Rosman, 'Translating Cultures: Perspectiveson Translation andAnthropology, Oxford/New York: 2003, p. 1).

22 Mona Baker and Gabriela Saldanha, Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies,1998 London: Routledge, 2009, p. 70. (my emphasis)

23 Katharina Reiss and Hans J. Vermeer suggest other possible definitions for “language”that involve all the possibilities of employing this faculty: “Human verbal language (and its derivates) are a specific form of the concept of language [previously described]. Written language and sign language for the deaf and hard of hearing (...) are direct (secondary) derivates of human verbal language. (...) Written language can become relatively independent of spoken language over the course of time. (...) A third category of language is indicatedby expressions like 'formal language' or 'colloquial language'. Such phenomena are addressed, for example, by a theory of style. (Katharina Reiss and Hans J. Vermeer, Towards a Theory of 'Translational Action: Skopos Theory Explained,1984, London: Routledge, 2014, pp. 18-21.

24 Hans Vermeer, “Is Translation a Linguistic or Cultural Process?”, Ilha do Desterro 28, No. 1992, p. 38.

25 Jeremy Munday, The Routledge Companion to Translation Studies, London and New York: Routledge, 2009, p. 74.

26 “[He] claims that 'Language is a guide to social reality' and that human beings are at the mercy of the language that has become the medium of expression of their society. Experience (...) is largerly determined by the language habits of the community, and each separate structure represents a separate reality” (Susan Bassnett, Translation Studies,1980, London/New York: Meuthen, 2002, p. 22).

27 Jeremy Munday, The Routledge Companion to Translation Studies, London and New York: Routledge, 2009, p. 75.

28 Christiane Nord, 'Translating as a Purposeful Activity: Functionalist 'Theories Explained,1997, Routledge, 2014, p. 24.

29 Umberto Eco, Experiences in 'Translation, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000, p. 17.

30 “(...) there will be certain things said in one language which are entirely inexpressible in some other language”. (J. W. Swanson, “Linguistic Relativity and Translation”, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. 22, No. 2 (Dec., 1961), p. 186).

31 Lawrence Venuti, 'The Translator's Invisibility:A History of Translation London: Routledge, f995, p. 306.

32 “Throughout its long history, translation has never really enjoyed the kind of recognition and respect than other professions such as medicine and engineering have enjoyed. Translates have constantly complained that translation is underestimated as a profession” (Mona Baker, In Other Words,1992, London: Routledge, 2011, p. 2).

33 MonaBaker, In Other Words,1992, London: Routledge, 201 l,p. 3.

34 Vanessa Leonardi, Gender and Ideology in Translation: Do Women and Men Translate Differently? A Contrastive Analysis from Italian into English, Bern: Peter Lang Pub. Inc., 2007, p. 35.

35 OxfordAdvanced Learner's Dictionary, Oxford University Press, 2015, p. 779 (my emphasis).

36 Basil Hatim and Jeremy Munday, 'Translation: An advanced resource book, London and New York: Routledge, 2004, p. 102.

37 Basil Hatim and Jeremy Munday, Translation: An advanced resource book, London and New York: Routledge, 2004, p. 342.

38 Vanessa Leonardi, Gender and Ideology in Translation: Do Women and Men Translate Differently? A Contrastive Analysis from Italian into English, Bern: Peter Lang Pub. Inc., 2007, p. 36. (my emphasis)

39 Norman Fairclough, Language andPower,1989, London: Longman, 1996, p. 2.

40 Antonio Gramsci, Selections from The Prison Notebooks, New York: international Publishers, 1971, p. 3.

41 Antonio Gramsci, Selectionfrom 'The Prison Notebooks, New York: International Publishers, 1971, p. 9.

42 The political element is very evident: “The separation of powers (...) is a product of the struggle between civil society and political society in a specific historical period. This period is characterised by a certain unstable equilibrium between the classes, which is a result of the fact that certain categories of intellectuals (in the direct service of the State, especially the civil and military bureucracy) are still too closely tied to the old dominant classes. (Antonio Gramsci, Selectionfrom 'The Prison Notebooks, New York: International Publishers, 1971, p. 245).

43 Antonio Gramsci, Selection from 'The Prison Notebooks, New York: International Publishers, 1971, p. 245.

44 Norman Fairclough, Language andPower,1989, London: Longman, 1996, p.33.

45 A definition of the word can be: “to remove the parts of a book, film/movie, etc. that are considered to be offensive, immoral or a political threat” (Cited in Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary, p. 236).

46 Pierre Bourdieu, Language and Symbolic Power, Polity Press: 1992, p. 138.

47 Simon Susen, “Reflections on ideology: Lessons from Pierre Bourdieu and Luc Boltanski”, Thesis Eleven, 124 (1), p. 7.

48 Simon Susen, “Reflections on ideology: Lessons from Pierre Bourdieu and Luc Boltanski”, Thesis Eleven, 124 (1), p. 7-8. After this first definition, they proceed into individuating twelve universals features of ideology, in the attempt of understanding what does “dominant ideology” really mean. Among those, there is the affirmation that “dominant ideologies distort reality” (p. 8), because of the desire of maintaining the interests and position of the dominant classes in society. In their words, “Dominant ideologies serve- above all- the purpose of protecting, legitimizing, and concealing the interests of th most powerful groups in society” (p. 8), and also “The dominant ideology of the dominant class constitutes a discursive framework of symbolically mediated reference points based on partial or complete distortions of reality” (p. 8).

49 Norman Fairclough, Language andPower,1989, London: Longman, 1996, p. 4 (my emphasis).

50 Elizabeth Cady Stantonand SusanB. Anthony, Declaration ofSentiments andResolutions.

51 The NortonAnthologyofEnglishLiterature, p. 1086.

52 The NortonAnthologyofEnglishLiterature, p. f086.

53 John Stuart Mill, The Subjection of Women, in The Norton Anthology of English Literature, pp.


54 Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Declaration ofSentiments andResolutions,1848,

55 Elizabeth Cady Stantonand SusanB. Anthony, Declaraton ofSentiments andResolutions,1848,

56 Alison Kelly, “The Construction of Masculine Science”, British Journal of Sociology of Education, Vol. 6, No. 2 (1985), p. 133.

57 Alison Kelly, “The Construction of Masculine Science”, British Journal of Sociology of Education, Vol. 6, No. 2 (1985), p. 134.

58 Alison Kelly, “The Construction of Masculine Science”, British Journal of Sociology of Education, Vol. 6, No. 2 (1985), p. 134.

59 Muriel R. Schulz, “How Serious is Sex Bias in Language?”, College Composition and Communication, Vol. 26, No. 2 (May 1975), p. 163.

60 Jane Sunderland, Language and Gender, London and New York: Routledge, 2006, p. 122.

61 Muriel R. Schulz, “How Serious is Sex Bias in Language?”, College Composition and Communication, Vol. 26, No. 2 (May 1975), p. 163 (my emphasis and interpolations).

62 Suzanne Romaine, Communicating Gender, 1998, p. 68, cited in Eleonora Federici and Vanessa Leonardi, Bridging the Gap between Theory and Practice in Translation and Gender Studies, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013, p. 16.

63 Susan U. Philips, “Sex Differences and Language”,.d««Ma/ Review of .Anthropology, Vol. 9 (1980), p. 523.

64 JuliaP. Stanley, “Sexist Grammar”, CollegeEnglish, Vol. 39, No. 7 (Mar., 1978), p. 2.

65 JuliaP. Stanley, “Sexist Grammar”, CollegeEnglish, Vol. 39, No. 7 (Mar., 1978), p. 2.

66 Julia P. Stanley, “Sexist Grammar”, College English, Vol. 39, No. 7 (Mar., 1978), pp. 801-802. Then she continues with the motivations that led to the assimilation of grammar into gender calssifications: “I have no idea how or why it happened, but very early in the development of English grammars grammarians equated the term gender with biological sex as the basis of noun classification, and our understanding of the structure of our language has been considerably hampered by their confusion. In 1712, Michael Maittaire ('The English Grammar)stated the equation: 'The gender signifies the kind or sex.' Murray, in his English Grammar of 1795, was even more concise: 'Gender is the distinction of sex.' R. Harrison (Institutes of English Grammar, 1777), in his section entitled 'Of Gender', defined the English gender system as follows: 'Nouns have properly two GENDERS; the Masculine, to denote the male kind; and the Feminine, to denote the female. When there is no distinction of sex, a Noun is said to be of the NEUTER Gender. The feminine Gender is sometimes expressed by adding ess to the masculine [while from Murray we leam that the -er suffix is a masculine morpheme in English]”, (p. 802)

67 Goold Brown, Harris's Hermes, p. 54, cited in Julia P. Stanley, “Sexist Grammar”, College English, Vol. 39, No. 7 (Mar., 1978), p. 804.

68 Carol Weiher, “Sexism in Language and Sexual Differences in Language Usage: Which is More Important?”, College Composition and Communication, Vol. 27, No. 3 (Oct., 1976), p. 3.

69 One example can be the essay by Michael Weinberg, “LGBT-Inclusive Language”, The English

Journal, Vol. 98, No. 4 (Mar., 2009), pp. 50-51.

70 Jordan B. Peterson, “The right to be politically incorrect”, National Post, Web, 21 November 2016.

71 Jordan B. Peterson, “The right to be politically incorrect”, National Post, Web, 21 November 2016.

72 Jordan B. Peterson, “The right to be politically incorrect”, National Post, Web, 21 November 2016.

73 His main arguments about the topic were based on his studies about ideology and politics: “I have been studying authoritarianism on the right and the left for 35 years. (...) Asa result of my studies, I have come to believe that Marxism is a murderous ideology. I believe its practitioners in modem universities should be ashamed of themselves for continuining to promote such vicious, untenable and anti-human ideas, and for indoctrinating their students with these beliefs. (...) Second, I am not happy with what is happening in this country in regards to gender- even to discussions about gender. Bill C-16 is predicated on absolute nonsense: sex is a biological fact that is determined by anatomy and chromosomes. Independent of biological sex, there is gender identity (which, according to the Ontario Human Rights Commission, is the personal sense of being 'a woman, a man, both, neither or anywhere along the gender spectrum'). Independent of that, there is gender expression (how a person 'publicly expresses their gender,' including their fashion choices, such as 'dress, hair (and) makeup'). These exist and maifest themselves purely as subjective choices. This

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All the "spellbinding words" and "melodious songs". Women and their imposed silence in "The Odyssey" translations
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Sofia Govoni (Author), 2018, All the "spellbinding words" and "melodious songs". Women and their imposed silence in "The Odyssey" translations, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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